I need your help to think something through. I’ve been working on it for a week.
I was looking at the end of Colossians. Paul mentions several individuals. One, Epaphras, was from Colosse. He had been part of starting the church. He had been the primary teacher. At the time Paul is writing, Epaphras is with him. Paul wants to make the personal connection. So he writes,
Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Paul says that Epaphras is “working hard for you” and for the people in a couple nearby towns. So what was he doing? He wasn’t connecting to them remotely. He wasn’t likely on some trade mission. This wasn’t a diplomatic mission where Epaphras would have been working on a treaty.
The best I can see from this text is that the “wrestling in prayer” that Epaphras was doing was somehow “working hard” for them.
I’ve written a lot here about the conversational nature of prayer. We’re talking with God in the same way that we talk with our spouse or a close friend or a parent. In fact, each of those is an image God uses to describe the relationship between us. But where would working hard come in? Trying to talk God into something?
Or is this a glimpse of a whole deeper dimension to conversation with God? I mean, when I speak sound appears. When God speaks stuff appears. Apparently, there is something about words and interaction I haven’t mastered.
Apparently Epaphras was working on it.